How Do I Find a Qualified Law Firm?
There are easy and simple steps you can take to find a reputable law firm that is best qualified to handle child sexual abuse cases, as well as the law firm that is the best “fit” for you. We recommend finding a law firm that has team members that have received trauma-informed training. This will likely provide survivors with a better experience, as trauma-informed professionals will be able to communicate to survivors in a more effective, productive, and empathic manner that is beneficial both to the survivor as well as the legal team. It’s also important to find a law firm with team members who: 1. Truly care about the survivor and are passionate about the child protection movement 2. Put the survivor’s mental health and well-being above all.
Are there Reputable, Free Attorney Referral Services?
Yes. The National Crime Victims Bar Association has a service that matches survivors, at no cost, with attorneys who are experienced in handling child sexual abuse civil cases. Their website also contains helpful advice on how to find and hire the best attorney for you.
Your local and state bar associations will also be able to provide you with helpful information, including whether or not a lawyer is in good standing. It is advisable to speak with multiple firms to find the one you are most confident in.
If I See an Attorney on the Internet or on TV, Does That Mean That They are Reputable?
One of the primary goals of trauma-informed attorneys is to reach survivors “where they are at.”
In order to inform as many survivors of their rights as possible — sometimes within a very short timeline — many experienced, trauma-informed attorneys engage in advertising on television, radio, newspapers, social media, and other platforms on the internet. Seeing an advertisement from a law firm does not mean a law firm is equipped to handle a child sexual abuse case and it does not mean they are not equipped either. We recommend reaching out to multiple law firms until you find one you feel comfortable and confident in.
We do hope you consider our experienced attorneys and advocates for your list of candidates. We are one of the most experienced law firms representing adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
What is the Standard Agreement with an Attorney? How Much Will I Pay Them When my Case is Settled?
Each law firm is different. We will specifically discuss your case with you on an individual basis and what to expect in fees and costs should we choose to work together.
Can I Switch Attorneys?
You are entitled to the legal representation of your choice. If you are already represented by an attorney when you reach out to our law firm, please inform us that you are represented by an attorney right away. If you do not wish to move forward with your lawsuit after you retain us as your attorneys, you can speak with the legal team about discontinuing representation and what that means for your case.
I Received Something in the Mail from an Attorney. They are Looking for Witnesses. Should I Respond? Is This Ethical?
It’s very common for survivors to provide information to their attorneys about their case. This may include providing names of other suspected survivors of the same perpetrator and/or witnesses. If you received a request for information from another attorney, investigator, or other third party and you currently have legal representation, talk to your attorney before contacting the third party. Together you can decide how and if you should respond.
I Heard a Rumor That an Attorney Was Sanctioned or Disbarred. How Do I Find Out More Information?
You can contact your local bar association and/or the bar association where the attorney has their primary license. They will provide you with information on how to research any disciplinary action.
Is it Okay to Interview Numerous Sexual Abuse Law Firms Before Making a Decision?
Yes. In fact, we recommend it. Choosing and hiring an attorney/law firm is an important decision. You need to ensure that you find a law firm whose goals align with yours and with whom you feel comfortable.
You may need to talk to two or three law firms before finding the right “fit.” We recommend finding a law firm that has team members that have received trauma-informed training. This will likely provide survivors with a better experience, as trauma-informed professionals will be able to communicate to survivors in a more effective, productive, and empathic manner that is beneficial both to the survivor as well as the legal team. It’s also important to find a law firm with team members who:
- Truly care about the survivor and are passionate about the child protection movement
- Put the survivor’s mental health and well-being above all.
As you do your research, we do hope you consider our experienced attorneys and advocates for your list of candidates. As we are one of the most experienced law firms representing adult survivors of child sexual abuse, we are confident you will find them among the best.
How Do I Know if an Attorney has Experience in Child Sexual Abuse Cases Against the Catholic Church?
When you interview attorneys or law firms, those attorneys should be able to provide you with an overview of their experience with child sexual abuse cases involving the Catholic Church.
This information should also be available on their website and found easily in an internet search. You can search to see if there are any news articles that mention the law firm and lawsuits pertaining to the Catholic Church.
If you speak with our experienced attorneys or advocates you will have a very solid benchmark of quality to serve your research going forward. We are among the most experienced in the field.
Is There Anything That Should Make Me Give a Particular Attorney or Law Firm a Hard Pass?
We recommend that you do not hire an attorney or law firm with no experience litigating cases against the Catholic Church (if that is where your abuse took place) or other institutions such as parishes, schools, or camps. We also recommend that you do not hire an attorney who has been disbarred or who is facing sanctions by their bar association. It’s important you feel supported, heard and validated in your experience seeking legal justice. If you are not feeling supported, we recommend you research other potential law firms.
What is the Difference Between a “Plaintiff” and “Defense?”
In a civil case, the plaintiff is the person who files the lawsuit. In a child sexual abuse case, the plaintiff is usually the survivor of the abuse.
The defense is typically composed of the perpetrator and the institution/s who knew about the abuse (or should have known about the abuse) and did not take proper action or covered it up. The institution may be a parish, school, diocese, camp, and more. These details vary depending on multiple factors that are different for each case. To get a better understanding of this, you can contact us for a free, confidential conversation.